Chicago breeds superstars. As far as basketball, they have that covered. But in entertainment, they aren’t bad either. Common, once known strictly as one of the illest emcees in hip-hop, has now branched out to become an actor, model and a public speaker.
But one thing he says he will never forget were his experiences as a Chicago Bulls ball boy during the early-to-mid 1980s. His timing was perfect; he was there just as the old regime was being run over and toppled by an exciting rookie from Chapel Hill, Michael Jordan.
In an interview with TimeOut Chicago, Common spoke on a number of things such as the city’s best restaurants, what his childhood was like and also how he fell in love with hip-hop, but his recollections about his time spent in Chicago Stadium with the Bulls were the most interesting.
When I was 11, till maybe 13 [1983â€“85 seasons], I was a ball boy for the Chicago Bulls. I came in on a year when they weren’t that great, but they had some cool players like Quintin Dailey, Ennis Whatley and Orlando Woolridge. But after a year, a man by the name of Michael Jordan came in. I will never forget seeing Jordan play a song in the locker room during the first exhibition game and the general manager, Rod Thorn, saying to him he can’t play music, that’s the rule. But after the second exhibition game they told him he could play whatever he wanted because he was that good. Just to be around that kind of transition, and getting to bond [with] and meet Michael Jordan and all those cats, was obviously one of the best experiences you could ever have in life.
Common didn’t elaborate on how well he did get to know MJ, but I’m assuming he saw a lot. I used to know two kids who grew up as Celtic ball boys and they always told me crazy stories. Stories about playing H.O.R.S.E. with Jordan. Stories about playing one-on-one games with Kobe and Shaq. They even told stories about the good tippers and the not-so-good tippers (some players would shell out a couple of hundreds just to have the ball boys get something from their car).
What’s your favorite Common song?
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